I am all about crafts that are hands-off for parents and open-ended for kids. That is why my modified version of this Lenten Almsgiving Project I found on Catholic Icing is perfect for us. I love Catholic Icing. I love the energy and excitement the writer, Lacy, brings to her parenting and her faith; but I have to admit that sometimes I feel like a joke next to mom’s like her. Just fair warning, you might want to view her crafts when you are feeling energetic, not after the dog eats your three-year-old’s Batman underpants (because he pooped in them and hid them under his bed) and the horrified neighbor boy finds the dog eating them and points them out to you in front of your mom who clucks her tongue as said three-year-old has a breakdown because those were his favorite Batman underpants that he pooped in. That happens to everyone, right?
Obviously, coming from Catholic Icing, the original project has a faith spin. It was meant for Lent, but could easily be done for Advent or any other faith or non-faith tradition of giving. This is a very simple and modifiable project.
In fact, this is the perfect craft for all four of my kids — even the baby. There are four sides to the box, so each child was given a plain white sheet of paper and their choice of age-appropriate coloring tools. I asked them to color a picture that represented giving and thankfulness to them. These are the resulting pictures:
I wasn’t expecting Rembrandt, but it is kind of a cool demonstration of various phases of child art.
After they finished their art and we talked about why we were doing it, we simply taped the art to the box, set it under our kitchen island and will be choosing a non-perishable food a day to add to the box. I also added a small coin bank so the kids can put found money in the almsgiving box instead.
If you want some extra ideas for what to include in your box, here is an article that Big-Hearted Families recently shared on Facebook, 10 Things Food Banks Need But Won’t Ask For. I found it kind of useful for a jumping off point.
Note: The Catholic Icing version of this project came with printable labels. You could have your kids decorate them or just print them in color and only do the food collection portion of this family project.